Bethan Jones
Posted on 28 Apr 2016

Head to Head with Headteacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at Kennall Vale School

Louise Northern, Headteacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at Kennall Vale School gives us an insight into her day to day life.

Your current title / role: 

Headteacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) at Kennall Vale School 

Brief career background: 

I began my teaching career in Cornwall. After getting married I moved to Milton Keynes and began working in Catholic schools – quickly becoming an RE coordinator. From there I moved to Cumbria with my husband and son to become deputy head of a Catholic school in special measures. We quickly got the school to a ‘good’ ofsted rating and the diocese asked me to consider a headship secondment to a failing school in Wigton. 

I eventually applied for the post (having been asked by staff!!!) and was successful but after four years my husband was appointed as a Local Authority (LA) adviser for maths in Cornwall so we moved back and I took up headship at Stithians School. My husband went on to become an ofsted inspector and from there a Her Majesty's Inspector. We later returned to Cumbria for three year's when I took on a large Catholic junior school in Wigton but eventually returned home – and are here to stay! 

I was asked by the LA here in Cornwall if I would consider the post of Acting Head here at Kennall Vale. I have to say I fell in love with the school, applied for the substantive post and the rest is history! I am blessed with a wonderful, loyal, hardworking staff – they all give so generously and their care and commitment towards the children make it a pleasure to be here every day.

What does a typical working day look like?

I meet and greet parents, carers and children outside from 9.45 – this sets us all up well for the day ahead. Children are always keen and enthusiastic, we talk about the things they have done the evening before etc. this way I come to know families well too.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Smoked salmon, salad and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a mango for dessert! Generally it is fish or some sort of curry. Love cooking!

What was the last piece of music you listened to?

Joan Baez: Diamonds and Dust, in the car!

What was your favourite and most hated subject when you were at school?

Loved French, loathed PE – I was always cold and was terrified of hockey. In fact I would go to great lengths to find excuses not to do it! 

What is the best thing about your job?

Two things:  Talking to the children and the dedication of my current staff – it is inspiring and makes coming to work a joy. There is a lovely culture here of professional development. Staff are open and honest about what they want to improve and they actively and continually seek to better their practice. No one is afraid to ask for advice. That, for me, is how a school really moves forward.

If you could change one thing about the current education system what would it be?

We won’t get into all the politics about testing etc, so it would have to be this: I would like to see much greater recognition for the amazing work our teaching assistants undertake in school.

If you're interested in taking part in our Head to Head feature please get in touch with Bethan Jones.